7th March 2024

Thrings hosts Biodiversity Net Gain seminar in Romsey

Romsey BNG event

Embracing the opportunities and preparing for the challenges presented by Biodiversity Net Gain was the topic of Thrings’ recent seminar, giving landowners and farmers an insight into what the latest regulations mean for them.

More than 40 representatives from across the agriculture, development and real estate sectors came together for the event, held at Thrings’ offices in Romsey on 6 March to hear from experts across a range of professional services including the commercial, legal, financial and ecological fields.

The first of the three guest speakers at the event was Christopher Sparrow, Managing Director for the National Capital Advisory and board member for the Environmental Farmers Group (EFG).

Giving a detailed introduction to the work of the EFG, Chris talked about their efforts to support their members in marketing development, pursuing environmental initiatives such as BNG and Nutrient Neutrality, and the benefits of bringing it all together to create a prospectus for environmental investment.

Providing an ecological perspective on BNG, Nicola French, Director of Holbury Consultancy Service, talked about the detail behind the Statutory Biodiversity Metric, the need for developers to balance the books in terms of BNG units and how establishing habitat banks can be commercial opportunities for landowners.

As the final guest speaker at the seminar, Peter Harker, Partner at accountancy firm Saffery, dove into the finer points of taxation and accounting for BNG and discussed the breaking news of the government’s response being published on taxing environmental land management and ecosystem service markets.

Also speaking at the event were Thrings lawyers Harvey Davies and Jonathan Thompson, from the firm’s Planning and Environment and the Agriculture teams respectively.

An active farmer alongside his legal work, Harvey discussed his experiences of the BNG market and provided a summary of the practical consideration landowners should have if they are considering committing to a BNG scheme on their land.

Jonathan, meanwhile, covered the legal side to BNG, in particular Conservation Covenants, their importance and how they are enforced. His talk also ventured into the various stakeholders that can be involved in the Covenants and provided key advice on what to consider when taking the long-term view of BNG.

Mark Charter, Partner in the Thrings Agriculture team and Chair of the seminar, said: “Biodiversity Net Gain is fast becoming one of the biggest opportunities for farmers and landowners to make use of their estates in a way that helps generate a consistent income.

“With BNG regulations now in force, we are seeing a lot more interest from clients across the country in terms of seeking advice on how it can benefit them, and it was great to be able to host this event and share the latest information and advice.

“Given how topical the matter is, it was positive to see so many in attendance at this seminar. Integrating BNG and natural capital opportunities into the already complex modern management considerations for farms and estates is often best achieved by having the right “cocktail” of experience and skills to hand - our speakers this evening have been the perfect demonstration of that. I’m very grateful to them for joining us and giving those present much food for thought on how they could make the most of the emerging markets and associated regulatory landscape.”

Thrings’ Agriculture and Planning and Environment teams have decades of experience in successfully supporting farming and landowner clients to navigate complex local and national planning policy legislation, helping them to achieve their aims and the potential for their business.

Find out more about how we can support farmers, food producers and rural communities on our Information for Farmers page.

Thrings information for farmers lawyers

Related Articles